College Football Picks: Back Western Mich. Against Middle Tenn. in Bahamas Bowl

Doug Upstone

Monday, December 14, 2015 3:01 PM GMT

The sportsbooks are hoping the second Bahamas Bowl can bring as much excitement as the first one did last year with it college football odds, here is a brief recap from a year ago.

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College Football Pick: Western Michigan -3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Western Kentucky was a very popular picks among football handicappers at -3 over Central Michigan and they took a 49-14 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Chippewas offense got hot and scored four touchdowns. On the game's final play, Central Michigan went 75-yards on a combination of Hail Mary toss combined with laterals and somehow how scored a touchdown to make the score 49-48. Instead of going sending the game into OT, CMU coaches went for broke and attempted two-point conversion (and failed) and for those making college football picks like yours truly it was the worst bad beats ever.

That was last year, (though the pain remains) and we move ahead to contestants from C-USA and the MAC for 2015 for this bowl battle.

 

Middle Tennessee State Strengths
The Blue Raiders raced to the finish line at 4-0 SU and ATS to finish 7-5 (8-4 ATS) on the season. Middle Tennessee has a strong passing attack led by QB Brent Stockstill, the son of head coach Rick Stockstill. The freshman signal caller showed great poise and was charge of the No.17 passing offense in the country at 310.2 yards a game and threw for 27 touchdowns, while completing 66.7 percent of his passes. Wide receiver Richie James led C-USA with 100 receptions (1,220 yards and six touchdowns) and he had a solid partner in Ed'Marques Battles (77 catches, 960 yards, 13 TDs). The Blue Raiders defense held last four foes to 13.7 points a contest.

 

Western Michigan Strengths
The Broncos late season losses to Bowling Green and Northern Illinois prevented them from reaching MAC championship game, but knocking off Toledo on the road in the season finale keep the Rockets from reaching that destination also. Western Michigan was 7-5 also (7-5 ATS) and has a balanced attack which ended up at 21st in the nation at 481 YPG. Zach Terrell (3,225 yards and 25 TDs) is the field general for the Broncos. With a group of running backs with different skill sets, Western Michigan averaged 4.9 yards a carry for almost 200 YPG (197.2).

 

Middle Tennessee State Weaknesses
Calling this a weakness might be an overstatement, but the Blue Raiders had five games where they rushed for 123 or fewer yards and that was against stronger competition, in which they the college football odds had them as an underdog four times. (The other was low -2 point home favorite) One offense, Middle Tennessee State has been mistake-prone by committing at least two turnovers in 11 of 12 games. If they continue on the same trend, it could be their undoing in this bowl game.

 

Western Michigan Weaknesses
In November, the Broncos faced the three other top teams besides themselves in the MAC and their run defense was chewed up for 242 YPG. If Middle Tennessee State can average 5.3 YPC like Western Michigan allowed this season, their potent passing game could pick apart their defense. Though a younger team, coach P.J. Fleck has a number of upperclassmen and this squad's maturity did not always match the talent level.

 

Oddsmakers Numbers and Outcome
At YouWager they have this encounter with Western Michigan favored by three. For sports picks, I prefer the Broncos who in my opinion played in the tougher conference this season and comes in more battled tested from stretch run. The Broncos are 5-1 and 4-2 ATS as favorites and 6-0 ATS away after a game where they committed one or less turnovers the last two seasons. Middle Tennessee State's turnovers are a real concern and they are 0-4 this season as underdogs (2-2 ATS) and 6-15 ATS versus teams averaging 4.75 or more rushing yards a game.